A’s lose sweep in 5-2 loss to Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Oakland Athletics let a three-game series sweep slip away in extra innings.

Sean Rodriguez hit a three-run home run with two out during a four-run 11th inning Thursday to lift the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-2 victory over the Athletics.

“It’s always nice to win a series, but when you’ve won two and you’re ahead, not being able to close it out is a little disappointing,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “But you pick up and go on to tomorrow.”

The Athletics lost for only the second time in 13 games.

Rodriguez’s team-leading fifth homer came off Luke Gregerson after Desmond Jennings’ two-out single had tied it against Dan Otero (4-1).

“I don’t really think you’re thinking about what the outcome is going to be,” Rodriguez said. “You’re just thinking about trying to put a good swing on a good pitch, and whatever happens, happens.”

Yeonis Cespedes’ sacrifice fly had given the A’s a 2-1 lead in the top of the 11th after he had tied the game with an RBI double in the ninth off Rays closer Grant Balfour.

Cespedes had been 0 for 11 in the series before hitting his double.

Josh Lueke (1-2) got the win after pitching the 11th for the Rays, who broke a four-game losing streak.

“We needed some kind of boost,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We were foiled in our attempts, and you’ve got to give Oakland credit. They’re playing at a very high level now.”

Yunel Escobar drove in the Rays’ first run with a single in the seventh off Oakland starter Sonny Gray.

The Rays’ final out in the ninth came when Jennings was caught stealing. The original call of safe was overturned by a replay challenge that took two minutes and 13 seconds.

Alex Cobb gave up three hits and two walks while striking out six in 6 2-3 innings in his first start for the Rays since April 12. After spending 35 games on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, the right-hander tied a franchise record with his third straight scoreless start.

Gray pitched eight innings for Oakland, giving up five hits and reducing his league-leading earned run average to 1.99.

“It felt like for a while there might not be any runs scored,” Melvin said. “You’ve just got to wait out the starting pitcher and try to get to the bullpen.”

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